DEEP MAGIC FROM THE DAWN OF TIME
“Yes! and have him rescued,” said the Witch scornfully.
“Then,” said the dwarf, “we had better do what we have to do at once.”
“I would like to have it done on the Stone Table itself,” said the Witch. “That is the proper place. That is where it has always been done before.”
“It will be a long time now before the Stone Table can again be put to its proper use,” said the dwarf.
“True,” said the Witch; and then, “Well, I will begin.”
At that moment with a rush and a snarl a Wolf rushed up to them.
“I have seen them. They are all at the Stone Table, with Him. They have killed my captain, Maugrim. I was hidden in the thickets and saw it all. One of the Sons of Adam killed him. Fly! Fly!”
“No,” said the Witch. “There need be no flying. Go quickly. Summon all our people to meet me here as speedily as they can. Call out the giants and the werewolves and the spirits of those trees who are on our side. Call the Ghouls, and the Boggles, the Ogres and the Minotaurs. Call the Cruels, the Hags, the Spectres, and the people of the Toadstools. We will fight. What? Have I not still my wand? Will not their ranks turn into stone even as they come on? Be off quickly, I have a little thing to finish here while you are away.”
The great brute bowed its head, turned, and galloped away.
“Now!” she said, “we have no table – let me see. We had better put it against the trunk of a tree.”
Edmund found himself being roughly forced to his feet. Then the dwarf set him with his back against a tree and bound him fast. He saw the Witch take off her outer mantle. Her arms were bare underneath it and terribly white. Because they were so very white he could see them, but he could not see much else, it was so dark in this valley
under the dark trees.
“Prepare the victim,”, said the Witch. And the dwarf undid Edmund’s collar and folded back his shirt at the neck. Then he took Edmund’s hair and pulled his head back so that he had to raise his chin. After that Edmund heard a strange noise – whizz whizz – whizz. For a moment he couldn’t think what it was. Then he realized. It was the sound of a knife being sharpened.
At that very moment he heard loud shouts from every direction – a drumming of hoofs and a beating of wings – a scream from the Witch – confusion all round him. And then he found he was being untied. Strong arms were round him and he heard big, kind voices saying things like –
“Let him lie down – give him some wine – drink this – steady now – you’ll be all right in a minute.”
Then he heard the voices of people who were not talking to him but to one another. And they were saying things like “Who’s got the Witch?” “I thought you had her.” “I didn’t see her after I knocked the knife out of her hand – I was after the dwarf – do you mean to say she’s escaped?” ” – A chap can’t mind everything at once – what’s that? Oh, sorry, it’s only an old stump!” But just at this point Edmund went off in a dead faint.
Presently the centaurs and unicorns and deer and birds (they were of course the rescue party which Aslan had sent in the last chapter) all set off to go back to the Stone Table, carrying Edmund with them. But if they could have seen what happened in that valley after they had gone, I think they might have been surprised.
It was perfectly still and presently the moon grew bright; if you had been there you would have seen the moonlight shining on an old tree-stump and on a fairsized boulder.